Prosecution pulled up in coal case

CHENNAI, MAY 8. The Special Judge-II, Mr. V. Radhakrishnan, on Monday pulled up the prosecution in the case relating to `coal import deal' during the previous AIADMK rule, in connection with the cross-examination of the former PWD Secretary, Mr. V. Sundaram.

The former IAS officer has been cited as a prosecution witness in the case. His cross-examination had been adjourned for half-a- dozen times in the past and the court had posted it afresh for today. When the case was taken up, the Special Public Prosecutor said that the witness was out of station.

The Judge asked ``Why is the prosecution dragging on (the matter)? This is very bad''. Instead of the defence, now the prosecution was committing the delay. When the Judge wanted to know whether the witness was out of station or gone abroad, the prosecution said that he had gone to Palghat. At this stage, a defence advocate said, it being summer vacation for the High Court, advocates were also out of station. However, he was prepared for the cross-examination. On this, the Judge said, ``So both (prosecution and defence) are trying to drag on. Only the accused will suffer. You do not seem to take into consideration, the ordeal of the accused''.

Later, the Judge posted the cross-examination of the witness on June 6. Meanwhile, the Judge posted for tomorrow (Tuesday) further hearing in the case relating to the `colour television sets scam'. The defence counsel told the court that the copy of the Supreme Court's order with regard to defence witnesses of the former Chief Minister, Ms.Jayalalitha, was expected to be available only today. On receipt of the order copy, he would file an application under Cr. P.C. section 315 (accused person to be competent witness).

While permitting Ms.Jayalalitha to cite herself and three others as defence witnesses in the case, the Supreme Court had said that she should submit on May 9 the list of the specified witnesses along with an appropriate application seeking the permission of the Special Court to examine herself as a defence witness.